As the U.S. and Cuba continue to work towards improved diplomatic relations, tourism to the island nation has surged, prompting worries of impending changes to its historic charm.
According to a report by NPR, many current tourists fear that Cuba will soon be sprouting Starbucks and McDonalds in the midst of the colonial architecture of Old Havana.
“Americans don’t respect this currently,” said French tourist Regis Beuche in regard to Cuba’s present state, pointing to the likelihood of an incoming American tourist invasion.
Tourism to Cuba surged more than 15 percent during the first five months of the year, and remain high even now, during what is usually the island’s lull season.
Cuba’s tourist infrastructure will need to adapt in order to handle the climbing rate of arrivals, as there are currently only about 60,000 hotel rooms across Cuba.
Carlos Rodriguez, a veteran waiter at Old Havana’s tourist shop, La Bodeguita del Medio, remains unconcerned that the recent changes will detrimentally affect Cuba’s roots.
“These changes are well thought-out and are taking place slowly,” he said.